in New York City
. The first all-disco radio station
in the United States
), in the wake of the second wave of 70s
discomania inspired by The Bee Gees
and Saturday Night Fever
. But there wasn't much Bee Gees - the programmers stayed fairly true to a club-oriented
selection of music, at least at first; where rival WBLS
might invite DJ
s in to mix stuff on weekend nights, KTU was, in the beginning, a little like having a full-time discotheque
on your radio
(Legend has it that the station owner, impressed at seeing a fairly young, upscale crowd during his first visit to a disco, ordered the station to switch tout de suite from soft rock to the new format; employees ran out and bought every 12" single they could, in preparation for the debut).
It worked for a while; BLS was, briefly, knocked off its demographic pedestal - so they discofied a little more, in order to play catch-up. WABC, long the #1 station in the market (and in the US), even briefly switched from Top 40
to disco, in an attempt to salvage market share. But the "death of disco" would eventually cause fallout amongst all these broadcasters.
WKTU was the home of "Mastermixes", and of afternoon disk jockey Paco, whose thick Spanish accent while saying "92 KTU" would make him the occasional butt of jokes in listenerland; producer Jellybean Benitez (Friend of Madonna) began his transition from club DJ to showbiz fame via a stint as one of the mixers at KTU.
Then another station joined the fray: "Kiss 98.7" (WRKS, once upon a time the first commercial freeform station in NYC, under its original call letters of WOR-FM), making for a three-way battle with KTU and BLS for the hips, feet, and ears of post-disco Gotham.
The market became more fragmented and less lucrative, and by 1985, WKTU had thrown in the towel, becoming "K-Rock" WXRK, the flagship station of Howard Stern. The WKTU call letters, revived in 1996, exist now at 103.5 on the dial, formerly the home of pop-jazz WRVR and, more recently, of country music station WYNY. The use of "WKTU" was, in part, a nostalgia ploy - there's no hint of the freshness and firstness of the original, in this age where conventional dance music has become a large part of the pop mainstream.
Does RuPaul still work there?